Drug use in Park

I have had a tenant recently come to us with a complaint of their neighbor selling drugs and using drugs right out in the open. Are we able to evict them out of the park with no hard evidence on the word of the neighbor? What are we allowed to do legally. We are in SC. Also they are playing loud music all hours of the night. We also got a picture of them urinating on the outside of one of the vacant units in the park.

I’m not sure about evictions, and I’m sure someone with that knowledge will also comment, but you should notify the police and provide them with any evidence you have.

If they are on month-to-month, don’t renew their rental agreement.

My Husband and I own two MHPs in South Carolina.After purchasing the second MHP we had a Tenant tell us that their neighbor was selling drugs.First of all we had to determine if this was true or if the Tenant complaining just did not like the other Tenant.After watching the Mobile Home in question we noticed multiple different vehicles arriving and leaving after just 5 or 10 minutes.  This is one indication that people might be selling drugs.  Through our own observations and a police report where one of the Guests of the ‘accused’ Drug Dealer had pistol whipped another of our Tenants, we decided that this particular Tenant could not continue to stay in our MHP.All of our Tenants are on Month-To-Month Leases.Even though the ‘accused’ Drug Dealer had violated numerous items in our Lease we selected to just non renew their Lease.We mailed them a Letter which reminded them that they were on a Month-To-Month Lease and that they had 30 Days to move from the property.This Tenant was not happy about their Lease not being renewed and wanted to know the ‘reason’.We just told them that their Lease was not being renewed.Since we live in such a litigious society, we felt that any legitimate reason we gave might be used against us.Unfortunately, you always have to look to the future to see what could potentially cause you or your business harm.The Tenant left during the 30 Days and life in the MHP is much better :-).We wish you the very best!

In OK. we are NOT required to give a reason but in MO. I did and yes you will generally than have a court date. We have tenants read and sign our guidelines and they agree to NO DRUGS. In the 35 years we have never seen drug traffic in our parks (be very careful of the quality of park you are buying)–when new residents want to be in your park make it a highlight of your conversation and enforce it NO DRUGS TOLERATED! Our local police will gladly put surveillance on people in question and tell us the results.

Non-renew their lease if you want. But tell the tenants to call the police in such cases, not tell you. That’s what 911 is for. You are not a police department. The tenants’ judgement on such matters is normally very poor, and they sometimes report people to you, rather than call 911, simply because they don’t like that person and made up the entire story. Let the police be in charge of these things. But if you believe the tenants at face value, you will probably evict the entire park - except their friends and family – before you are done.

Frank some people are afraid of reprisals if they call the cops but since this resident notified the owner?? it is our responsibility to check out the validity of the request and then we put on the Big Boy Pants and call the cops and try to have a police record that might be needed by the park owner in court. We NEED to have a dialogue with our residents that when their peace and safety are involved they know we are proactive that DRUGS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED and as owner we want there stay to be enjoyable. For example one half our retires are widow ladies and since they feel safe they bring in the good friends to buy homes and we love retires! The owner sets the bar of permissible behavior and people will challenge then but as a owner we need our residents to be safe and as in Tx. owners put up six foot fences and gated entrances, Today the justice department is looking at decimalizing marijuana which for some parks will make rents very late and then how will park owner deal with it when it will be legal if it is a problem now. The good people will not make waves–they leave and soon they friend also!!! Owners need to have dialogue with the good residents and they will learn what concerns the residents have that are IMPORTANT to them–we are there to serve–that makes success. Be careful where and what you buy it might change you without you changing the park!!!

Carl,I think you have a special group of residents in your park, but in most parks the worst thing you can do is to engage in any activity that even remotely resembles crime fighting. The procedure is (and this is dictated by our insurance company): 1) the tenant calls 911 2) the police determine if there has been a crime and, if so, who the guilty party(s) are 3) they take action 4) we non-renew the lease of those involved in crime. There are no reprisals as the police do not tell the person who called them typically (at least they’re not supposed to). But the important thing is that the police are who are engaged in the crime fighting, not the park management. Having the park manager call the police is inefficient as they have no first hand knowledge of what supposedly happened, and the police will grow jaded to getting calls from the same manager over and over and make it a lower priority (if they eventually even come out at all).We typically only have these type of crime issues when we first buy the park and are doing the turnaround. I think we evicted around 30% of the entire tenant base – within the first four months – in our new park in Decatur. But once you get rid of all the bad people that the prior owner let build up, there is not much to worry about. Since we have strong demand, we could care less about evicting that random tenant or two that cannot follow the rules.That being said, every park is different, and you have to adjust your management style to your specific park. If you have a retirement “country club” park, then your manager may well have to act as a 24/7 concierge and do whatever it takes to retain tenants (much like ELS does). But we are not in that line of business.

The real difference is from day one if the park is one I would not live in I pass. Second we own and operate exceptional properties and with prior experience with managers yes they are in a difficult position as to precisely what the owner wants and also what is the manager capable of especial if they are from the troubled property. Therefore we choose to owner operate and no our insurance says nothings about the police. We probably put in less time than a manager since we see a problem in its infancy and deal with it before it involves lots of people. We walk away from our parks for days–residents understand we care and most important THEY CARE since they want peace and safety. Thank you for the compliment but the 24/7 comment is unbecoming from you since YOU really do not know who we are. We are not interested in operating an correctional unit!!! We love money makers from DAY ONE and refuse to buy marginal properties and hope first time buyers see there is a great divide in quality in the park business.

Carl,I’m glad that what you’ve got is working for you, but it’s not the norm and I don’t want anyone reading the forum to think that it is. Whether or not we would personally live in a park has nothing to do with whether its a good investment or not. What matters is that it makes money, and lots of it. We buy at 10% cap rates and then push those with higher rents, lower costs and greater occupancy. We cannot buy parks that are full, at full market rents, and all costs reduced and hit our target return numbers, unless we buy them really cheap (which is possible in REO and mom & pop distress situations, but that’s about it). I understand that you have higher goals than making money with your park, but our goal is simply to provide a safe, well-run property that has a high rate of return on investment. Our selection of properties is based on the matrix of location, density, infrastructure (city water and sewer almost exclusively), age of homes (the older the better), and financing platform. Beyond that,it’s all about the numbers. I would imagine that 99.9% of those who read the forum are interested in mobile home parks as a tool to make money (which is the only reason that Dave and I got in the business, as well). For those of us who are in this real estate sector to hit high levels of return, the goal is not to have “exceptional” properties except in location, tenants who pay the rent and follow the rules, and providing a decent, safe place to live that’s cheap. This concept is called “affordable housing” and that’s the only business model that we embrace.ELS embraces exceptional “lifestyle choice” communities that resemble resorts. That’s great. But they only pay a 3.7% dividend (that’s about 5 times lower than we strive for). SUN and UMH (the other two industry REITs and “lifestyle choice” activists) do not do much better financially (UMH’s stock has declined continuously for over a decade).Marginal properties are not based on appearance, but based on financial performance, in our book. An ugly park that makes 20% is infinitely better than a beautiful park that makes 3%. And that divide in opinion on what the goal is – “affordable housing” vs. “lifestyle choice” – is one of the key rifts in the mobile home park industry.

Franks approach is on the money and as much as my park and standards are similar to Carl there is no faulting Frank’s business practices. Business is business and each must be geared to the individual property with respect to making the highest possible profit. There is an owner for every possible type of property but many properties can defiantly benefit from a change in ownership.
Personally I would very much have been in the business of purchasing turn around parks  however our business environment in regards to tenant rights makes it virtually impossible to actually turn around parks up here. We can not get the support of our landlord tenant board to even force tenants to follow park rules let alone even dream of actually being able to evict. Non renewal of a lease is a fantasy dream up here. 
When I purchased my park in 2008 I had one tenant that was a low life and a drug dealer. It took me till the end of 2012 to finally ware her down enough for her to decide to abandon her lot and that was 2 years after her home was actually destroyed by fire (She burned it down to collect the insurance). After 12 appearances over that time where I was repeatedly forced to pay her rent rebates due to “harassment " resulting in no income from her lot for 2 years she finally gave up trying to bring in a replacement home. We have no rights as landlords up here to “none renew”. Only the tenant has the power to determine when they chose to terminate their lease.

Greg,Could you please retell your story of your drug dealing, arsonist tenant with a little more detail? Your story is interesting but I am left with more questions that information. Who forced you to pay her rent rebates? The courts? What was the complaint that she sued you under? What is a rent rebate? Where is “up here”. How is it that she could be a non-payer for 2 years and you not being able to at least get the lease voided? Was there anything you did wrong that you learned not to do again?

Anyone from Colorado or owning a park there have a comment on this?

From the above comments why do you assume that a great property will not return a 10 cap from day one??? I have had parks in many states and from my experience Oklahoma tenant’s laws suit me fine and lets me clean up any problem quickly! If money is what you want I do my own stock trading and can make a 20% return without having to deal with druggy run down parks and never have to hear a sad story from a manager. I have lived in two of my parks and since one had a marina on Table Rock Lake and near great entertainment it was like heaven. You can learn much from tenants where they LIVE and understand their needs. My problems I believe is my 4 legged cows have better care than tenants in some of your parks and believe me my dad engrained in me take care of the cow and it will take care of you. My tenants are important and yes we have friendships and help them as they help us–that is why being an owner-operator is so rewarding vr just counting money and dealing with turnaround properties that you assume are potential gold mines! Yes. I had managers and really fell distance and strange visiting a couple times per year and pushing them to increase occupancy and increase MY BOTTOM LINE–been there done that. I really do not like drugs or to have managers needing to deal with a social issue that is becoming another storm that tears America apart. The other social ill that I am watching with our retires is adult children trying to move in since losing a marriage, a job or just cannot survive this economy. Do you KNOW who really is living in each home and maybe a weekend sex offender that becomes a fulltime resident and your next step as a park owner is what??? Yes my park is for sale and from day one I received over a 10 cap and the next owner can have the same and if you want to put a manager here do not waste my time calling. I think we wore out the subject and thank you greatly for this discussion board–great idea.

If you can make a consistent 20% in the stock market, you should be doing that, and not wasting your time with the parks. Bernie Madoff claimed he could do a consistent 18% to 20% and he attracted billions. But of course he could not. 

I need a side business for depreciation and it is fine to have a MBA and use it. I enjoy people and exceptional properties and the stock market is very stuffy thus I own parks along with farms and am very diversified. Apparently you are ignorant that the common core stock market has returned over a 10% per year since WWII and Fidelity has a no cost site that you could update yourself to the actual numbers. Presently most investors are in emerging markets since the USA is considered overpriced (PE) in a very mature market and our GDP will be less than 2% for 2014. Presently I am in GG and NTI for example that deal with oil and gold that with the great increase of wars worldwide that preclude oil going much below $100 per barrel. Sitting at a desk playing the stock market all day is NOT the party anymore but takes 10 or 15 minutes 3 times a week and then back to helping and enjoying people in our owner-operated parks!. Did you every heard the comment do not put all your eggs in the same basket???


Could you please retell your story of your drug dealing, arsonist tenant with a little more detail? Your story is interesting but I am left with more questions that information. Who forced you to pay her rent rebates? The courts? What was the complaint that she sued you under? What is a rent rebate? Where is “up here”. How is it that she could be a non-payer for 2 years and you not being able to at least get the lease voided? Was there anything you did wrong that you learned not to do again?
It is a very long story so I will start by simply answering your direct questions. First I am in Ontario Canada and we operate under the regulations of the Residential Tenancy Act which was originally called the Tenant Protection Act. That is the first clue as to the pro tenant business atmosphere we are under. The regulations of the act are enforced by the Landlord Tenant Board whose mandate is again to prevent tenants primarily from being evicted. It is this board that on several occasions ordered rent rebates to my tenant. Essentially a rent rebate is a rent refund for actions by a landlord that interferes with a tenants “reasonable enjoyment”. As an example if I serve a tenant for violating park rules and they refuse to comply we must appear before the board. The board makes arbitrary decisions generally denying my application, instructing me that the rule is not enforceable and order me to pay the tenant a rent rebate for me harassing them by ordering them to obey the rules. The board recognizes the right of park owners to make rules but does not support the park owners in regards to enforcing those rules. Long story short if tenants do not chose voluntarily to follow rules they are unenforceable. In this tenants particular case she burned down her home then immediately purchased a 15 year old home as a replacement. At the time our rules only allowed 10 year old homes as a maximum. I refused to allow her to bring it in and the battle began. To hold the lot she continued to pay rent but in the end got all that money back through rent rebates. .Mean while I used every legal means available to me to keep her out and was denied at every hearing. I knew I would be and going in I took the approach of simply making her life as miserable as possible till she gave up. She eventually did and moved on when she latched on to a man with some money. The thing with her is she had 3 previous husbands two of which died under mysterious circumstances (one the body was never found) and the last one was poisoned but survived. She has been the primary suspect in each case but no charges have ever been laid.
I did nothing wrong in my opinion that I would do differently but I would say that other than in a cases where I am determined to evict there is absolutely no point in working within the system to control tenant behavior in Ontario Canada.
Never invest in rental properties in Ontario Canada.

Double post

Good Lord! I thought things were bad here in California.

I think we’ll continue to buy parks south of the border – the Canadian border that is.